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From Ilford to Harvard: state-school student achieves the American Dream

PUBLISHED: 10:39 19 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:39 19 January 2016

Danu Mudannayake is going off to study at Harvard, she's the first in her family to go off to university. Danu with parents Jude Mudannayake and Dilrukshi Mudannayake

Danu Mudannayake is going off to study at Harvard, she's the first in her family to go off to university. Danu with parents Jude Mudannayake and Dilrukshi Mudannayake

Archant

A state school pupil has had her life transformed after earning a place to study at world-famous Harvard University.

Danukshi Mudannayake, 18, from Ilford, will be in the first generation of her family to go to university when she moves to America in the autumn.

She is currently finishing her A-levels at Woodford County High School, in High Road, Woodford Green.

In her time at school, she founded a political art club, tutored younger students and took part in numerous public speaking competitions.

Now in the autumn, she will start her liberal arts degree at the coveted college, with financial support.

In 2014, she was accepted on the Sutton Trust’s US programme, which allowed her to spend a week in the states touring American universities.

Danushi said she still couldn’t believe she would be moving abroad.

She said: “Being of the first generation in my family to access university abroad, I am ecstatic to welcome the opportunities that will unfold over the coming years.

“My family have been so supportive of my decision to apply abroad and being able to share this experience with them is incredibly gratifying.

“I can honestly say that without the help of the programme, I would never have had the confidence to apply to US colleges.”


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